5 July 2012
There is string quartet playing and then there is the Takács Quartet playing; on hearing them one can understand why they are acclaimed, having the characteristics of a chameleon, taking on the essence of their environment, becoming one with the music, where form, substance and interpretation are inseparable.
Janáček’s String Quartet No 1 ‘Kreutzer Sonata’ was introduced with the complex narrative well explained with the musical illustrations contextualised. From the opening utterances the colours were impeccably blended, the emotional Con moto - Vivo – Andante was beautifully shaped and the Con moto - (Adagio) - Più mosso carried all the anguish and turbulence with stunning vitality.
Bartók’s String Quartet No 2 composed during the Great War appears to influence the work. In the opening moderato the quartet captured the intricate interlocking parts with an amazing homogeneous sound with a seamless flow of finely sculptured dissonances. The angular and spikey character of the allegro molto capriccioso was powerfully portrayed. The sparseness and desolate nature of the lento captured the disturbing nature of a barren landscape.
Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor was forceful in the animé et très decide. In the assez vif et bien rythmé, the pizzicato displayed humour with amazing fluidity between the parts. In the andantino, doucement expressif, the quartet was intimate displaying a sensuality of sound with a seamless legato, on-the-string playing style. The final très modéré - en animant peu à peu - très mouvementé et avec passion, captured the triumphant mood with abandon.
The performance was stunning; four instruments with one sound, four musicians with one voice.